Orlando Personal Injury Protection Lawyer (PIP)
With the highly congested streets of Florida, a disturbing number of drivers operating their vehicles while intoxicated (there were 40,677 DUI arrests in 2014, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and the rising number of distracted cell phone users, it is most likely only a matter of time before you are involved in an accident. It is not if, but when. Any type of collision is not only traumatic, but incredibly frustrating as well. Being reimbursed for all of your medical costs and property damage without some sort of legal headache along the way is a rarity. And, with Florida’s incredibly high rate of uninsured drivers on the road, the process can be even more frustrating. If a driver has no insurance, it is likely that you will not be able to get very much out of them from their personal assets. Luckily, your own insurance will cover your expenses up to your policy limit. Additionally, there is another financial safety precaution to take as well: personal injury protection insurance, called PIP insurance for short. Our Orlando personal injury protection lawyers can help you acquire PIP insurance today to ensure you have one more layer of protection for that unlucky day that will unfortunately most likely come at some point when you least expect it.
The Benefits Of Personal Injury Protection Insurance
The best way in which to envision PIP insurance is that it acts as an add on to your health insurance. In fact, PIP insurance actually covers some expenses that your normal health care coverage would not cover. However, PIP insurance can only be used in vehicle accidents, when you are a pedestrian, and when you are a cyclist. And, it can be applied to every passenger in your vehicle, regardless of fault. This means that you will be covered by PIP insurance whether you caused the crash or another party was the culprit. However, it is not a replacement for your normal auto insurance or health insurance. Most policy limits reach $10,000, with a $1,000 deductible necessary up front, which means that of your injury expenses, you pay the first $1,000, according to Florida state statute 627.736. PIP insurance can also pay up to 60 percent of a victim’s lost wages, and in some cases can be used to cover travel expenses to and from medical facilities. If there was a fatality in the auto collision, PIP insurance will pay for up to $5,000 in the death expenses. Originally designed to free up the courts by decreasing the number of lawsuits filed from on driver to another, acquiring PIP insurance does not mean that you won’t be able to file suit against the liable party. In fact, because the average cost of medical expenses in a car accident greatly exceeds the PIP policy limit of $10,000, you may need to file for additional compensation.
Is Personal Injury Protection Coverage Required?
Because Florida is a no-fault car insurance state–which means that drivers mustturn to their own insurance companies for compensation after a crash, regardless of fault–Personal Injury Protection coverage is indeed required. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles explains on its website that all drivers must purchase PIP in a minimum amount of $10,000. The other type of required insurance in Florida is Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage, which also much be maintained in an amount of $10,000.
What If $10,000 Isn’t Enough to Cover My Injuries?
As stated above, the fact that Florida is a no-fault state and that PIP insurance is required does not mean that a driver cannot step outside of the no-fault system and pursue damages via other sources of insurance when circumstances demand it. To be sure, Florida Statute Section 627.737 reads that when an individual suffers a severe injury, they may step outside of the no-fault/PIP coverage system and seek damages for all losses, including pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience. Injuries that are considered “serious” for the purpose of filing a suit for such damages include:
- Permanent and significant loss of any bodily function;
- Permanent injury other than scarring and disfigurement;
- Scarring and disfigurement; and
This means that if you have suffered one of the injury types listed above, you will turn to your PIP coverage first, recoup the compensation available up to your policy amount, and then you can file a claim for further damages against the at-fault party.
What If the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Even if you carry the required insurance requirements for legal operation of a motor vehicle in Florida, this may not be true for the driver who caused the crash and your injuries. Which means that if you exhaust the coverage provided by your own Personal Injury Protection policy, filing a claim against the other driver for further damages may not be an option. When this is the case, you may once again turn to your own insurance policy to recoup compensation under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, if you carry it. While this type of coverage is not required in Florida, it is strongly recommended.
Why You Should Work with an Experienced Orlando Lawyer
If you carry PIP coverage or/and other insurance types, like uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you may assume that after a crash, filing a claim and getting the compensation award that you deserve will be easy. However, while these insurance types are supposed to protect you and provide you with the coverage that you need for medical bills and other losses, your insurance adjuster may search for ways to diminish the value of your claim. If your insurance company isn’t offering you the benefits to which you’re entitled, you need a lawyer.
If your injuries are especially severe and you believe that you will have to step outside of the no-fault system and file a claim against the other driver to recover compensation, you should also consider working with a lawyer. Fault-based claims can be complicated, and a lawyer can improve your chances of recovering the settlement you deserve.
Let Our Orlando Personal Injury Protection Lawyers Help You Today
Our Orlando car accident & personal injury protection insurance lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm can help you with any of your insurance needs today at 1-888-573-6327. Reach out to us at our Orlando office for immediate assistance.